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City bus shelter location approved; funding pending

The Jamestown Finance and Legal Committee approved allowing a planned bus shelter to be placed on city property during its meeting Tuesday. The approval is contingent on a responsible group taking on the funding and construction of the project.

“We’ve had some interest in doing this,” said Charlie Kourajian, city councilman and organizer of the effort to construct a bus shelter. “All we need is permission, then we’ll move ahead raising money and building the shelter.”

The shelter is planned for the city parking lot west of the Post House and adjacent to the old Eagles building. The shelter would be used by passengers of Jefferson Line, which provides bus service to passengers traveling east or west from Jamestown.

Kourajian said the shelter would be constructed to city specifications and include windows along the entire front wall so law enforcement officers driving past the shelter could see any activity in the building.

Harold Newman, owner of Newman Signs, said his company would work with the city on the project. Newman Signs owns two billboards that are on the north edge of the parking lot near where the shelter would be constructed..

The committee also approved $343,000 in new jobs training funds for Dakota Spirit AgEnergy. The city will cover 90 percent of the costs or about $309,000 while the rest is paid by Stutsman County.

The new jobs training funds are loans that are repaid from the North Dakota income tax withholdings of the employees of the company two years after it becomes operational.

DSA is an ethanol plant under construction in the Spiritwood Energy Park Association. The industrial park is outside of Jamestown city limits but the city pays a larger share than the county because of the size of the project.

“With all the projects we have out there it won’t be long before the county has no money,” said Connie Ova, CEO of the Jamestown/ Stutsman Development Corp., referring to the Stutsman County Economic Development Fund.

The JSDC removed a request to purchase 320 acres of land in Spiritwood Township from the Finance and Legal Committee agenda. The Stutsman County Commission voted earlier in the day to deny allowing the purchase, saying the $6,000 per acre cost of the land was too high. Residents of Spiritwood Township had also raised concerns the purchase could lead to the property being annexed by the city of Jamestown or Jamestown Public School District. Actions by the JSDC must be approved by the City Council and County Commission to move forward.

The Finance and Legal Committee also voted to increase its own salaries. The 2014 city budget included an increase in pay to $800 per month for a City Council member and $1,600 per month for the mayor. The pay raises had gone into effect at the first of the year but a resolution confirming the pay raises was required.

Council members had been paid $600 per month and the mayor $1,200 per month since 1998. The pay raise amounts to 2 percent per year since then.

“If we think it is appropriate, I think we should pass it,” said Dan Buchanan, City Council member. The resolution to confirm the pay raises passed unanimously.

Sun reporter Keith Norman can be reached at 701-952-8452 or by email at knorman@jamestownsun.com

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